Thursday, July 7, 2016

Review - Kim and Kim #1 (@blackmaskstudio)


"In about three seconds, I'm gonna come crashing through a window."

For all the glory that comes with snagging a high-value intergalactic bounty, there's the in-between. Struggling to find work, scraping by to live and fending off rival hunters. As long as you've got someone you can trust though things are a little more bearable. Kim and Kim #1 from Black Mask Studio gives readers two characters who trust one another and rely on that trust to survive. The issue is written by Mags Visaggio, illustrated by Eva Cabrera, colored by Claudia Aguirre and lettered by Zakk Saam.

Kim & Kim are twentysomething besties out to make a name for themselves in the wild world of interdimensional cowboy law enforcement. In a massive "screw you" to their parents and the authorities, they decide to hijack some high stakes bounty - and end up in way over their heads. Kim & Kim is a day-glo action adventure that's bursting with energy and enthusiasm. It puts queer women and trans women front and center, with a story that embraces the absurd alongside realistic pathos. It's a mature book that focuses on the power and meaning of female friendships as engines of validation.

What really jumps out upon reading Kim and Kim #1 is Visaggio's completely carefree dialogue that reflects characters of a similar carefree nature. Visaggio ensures that both Kims have exchanges that allow one to more responsible and one to be more brash and Visaggio does a fantastic job of balancing both personalities against one another. Their exchanges really help the issue move very quickly and adds a sense of frenetic energy to their exploits. Visaggio infuses both characters with very frank conversation that really invites the reader into their world. And Kim Q was penned as a transgender character reflective of Visaggio as she underwent her own transition process, with her spontaneous approach demonstrating that she might not have all the answers yet she's still willing to figure it out on the fly.

You can't have punk rock without the appropriate artwork and Cabrera's work pops. Kim and Kim may share a name, but Cabrera ensures that each has their own distinct appearance that complements one another well. All the characters in the book seem to scream out to the reader when they're on the page--a testament to Cabrera's ability to make things feel adventurous. The action sequences are handled very well by Cabrera as blows are exchanged between characters. The bright, bold colors by Aguirre maintain a loud presence in the book with plenty of neons and bright primary colors filling the panels.

At first glance Kim and Kim #1 is an intergalactic bounty hunter book, but there's a lot more subtext buried deeper. Despite scraping by as bounty hunters, Kim and Kim have each other and are perfectly content with that and themselves. Viasggio's script is very fast-moving and doesn't really give the reader much chance to catch their breath. Cabrera's illustrations are cheerful and vibrant even if the main characters can barely afford to live. Kim and Kim #1 is an intergalactic bounty hunter tale that mixes together the camaraderie Thelma and Louise with the space humor of Spaceballs.

Kim and Kim #1 is in stores now.

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